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Downham Market Brownies learn about wartime rations and gas masks



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Seventeen Brownies, leaders and volunteers all had fun delving into treasures from the past at Discover Downham on Monday.

The heritage centre regularly runs workshops for groups on topics ranging from Fenland life 100 years ago, toys and games from the past and Victorian working life.

This one was based on the second world war evacuation, air raids and gas masks. It was a timely visit as it tied in with the Centre’s current display about Downham’s war memorial centenary.

Gas masks at the ready at Discover Downham
Gas masks at the ready at Discover Downham

By the end of the session the Brownies had completed several tasks and were wearing their identity tags and clutching their identity cards. They were issued with ration coupons and learnt how little they would have been able to take with them when sent from home to stay with relatives, or even complete strangers, in the countryside. They then moved on to making poppies and gas masks which, though fiddly, they all completed with a flourish.

It was a busy session with the Brownies moving between one section and the next whenever the loud air raid rattle sounded.

Brownies made poppies during the workshop
Brownies made poppies during the workshop

Volunteer, Shirley Goodbody, said: "We had as much fun, if not more, than the children!"

More details about the workshops, which are also available as loan boxes, can be found on the Discover Downham website www.discoverdownham.org.uk

Brownies tried on gas masks
Brownies tried on gas masks
Brownies at Discover Downham
Brownies at Discover Downham


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